In her new book, On the Picket Line, Mary E. Triece connects the dots among hungry mothers, the Depression, and stateside Commies. Intrigued by the perceived notion that ladies stayed inactive throughout the 1930s labor movement, Triece spent four years researching the subject. I found that average, everyday women were very active, she says. They kind of foreshadowed the Communist Party USA with their community-based activism.
On the Picket Line (which is subtitled Strategies of Working-Class Women During the Depression) recounts how females juggled various roles and duties -- wife, mother, worker, and consumer among them. Housewives were picketing with their children by their sides, says Triece. Sometimes these women were arrested with their children. They were engaged in very coercive actions in attempts to get prices lowered and wages [increased]. The book details numerous sit-ins, walkouts, and boycotts, which Triece charts all the way to modern-day feminists. These women acted out of desperation and out of anger, she says. And then they acted out of hope -- to see what they could do as a collective.
Sat., Sept. 22, 2 p.m., 2007